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Lone Star College System and UT Austin Lead College Completion Initiative

Lone Star College System, in collaboration with The University of Texas at Austin and The University of Texas System, is leading the Texas Reverse Transfer Initiative (TRTI), which awards associate degrees to students who have earned the necessary credits after transferring to a four-year institution. 

The TRTI group met in Austin earlier in July to begin identifying policies and procedures to track student success and challenges. 

TRTI is a key strategy in Texas’ goal of increasing higher education degree attainment. In 2013, Texas enrolled more students in community college than every state except California, yet ranked 44th in the attainment of associate degrees.

TRTI is a two-year project that is part of the Credit When It’s Due initiative, a national grant program funded by the Lumina Foundation, Meadows Foundation, Greater Texas Foundation and Houston Endowment to improve and implement reverse transfer degree programs.

The National Student Clearinghouse will support the initiative by working with registrars to establish systems that facilitate data sharing across schools. With 24 post-secondary institutions participating, TRTI will ensure that students in the LSCS, at The University of Texas at Austin and other partner schools are awarded degrees for credits they have earned. 
“We know students who complete an associate degree and transfer to a four-year university have better success than those who do not complete an associate degree,” said Dr. Keri Rogers, vice chancellor of Academic Affairs for LSCS.  “The reverse transfer program will provide an additional incentive for students as they work toward completing their bachelor’s degree at a four-year university.”

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board reported that 454,154 students transferred into a Texas university in the fall of 2012 with credits earned at a Texas two-year colleges. The majority of these students are probably eligible to receive a reverse transfer associate degree, while only 11 percent of those students (48,895) earned an associate degree before transferring. 
“In addition to motivating a student to continue in school, reverse transfer gives credit to the community college that prepared the student to transfer. This strategy helps accelerate students on the path to their bachelor’s degrees, while honoring both the contribution of the community colleges and the value of associate degrees,” said Harrison Keller, vice provost for Higher Education Policy and Research at The University of Texas at Austin.

TRTI comes at a critical time for both our state and the country. President Obama set a college completion goal that by 2020 our country will regain its position as a world leader in the proportion of college graduates. 
“Transfer students are making up an ever greater portion of students on UT System campuses,” said Dr. Linda Johnsrud, associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at UT System. “Our campuses are committed to ensuring that these students succeed in attaining their four-year degrees.”

Lone Star College System has been opening doors to a better community for more than 40 years. Founded in 1973, LSCS remains steadfast in its commitment to student success and credential completion.  Today, with 78,000 students in credit classes, and a total enrollment of more than 90,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and one of the fastest-growing community college systems in the nation.  Dr. Steve Head is the chancellor of LSCS, which consists of six colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Tomball and LSC-University Park, seven centers, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online.